A (white) friend recently posted on her Facebook wall that when she has recently talked to people about the secret group Pantsuit Nation, she overwhelmingly has been getting two types of responses:
(Almost) every white woman in her feed: “Pantsuit Nation is the best!”
Every person of colour (PoC) in her feed: “Pantsuit Nation is not a safe space for me.”
What followed this post was an immediate barrage of comments that sounded like this, by mostly white women:
“I thought it was a great idea originally and loved the positivity and communal support. But lately it’s becoming a place for ye ol’ humblebrag & validate me on my wokeness!’ I don’t know how it would be an ‘unsafe’ space — the inclusiveness and unquestioning love & support for all there is overwhelming and borderline cloying. But unsafe? Maybe irrelevant…?”
When I pointed out the irony of these comments disbelieving PoC’s experience on a post about the lack of Pantsuit Nation’s intersectionality and inclusiveness; I was met with:
“I’m an open minded, genuinely kind, educated, willing to listen and learn white asshole. Currently, social media is a scary place for anyone not a straight, white, Christian male (and I’m only one of those things); I’d argue that Pantsuit Nation is one of the safer, more loving if a bit misdirected places to hang these days. I’m totally open to hearing other experiences and helping.”
And this is precisely why White Feminism™ is deeply mistrusted by women of color. We show up for you, but you don’t show up for us.
We don’t care that you’re nice, kind-hearted, community-minded or that your “intentions were good”— dear white people.
The question is not IF you are a part of the problem, I am here to tell you that YOU ARE.
The question is what are you going to do about it instead of trying to dodge your responsibility to dismantle it or rewrite the narrative of what in your minds ‘deserves’ addressing as a big enough problem.
Stop being so fucking precious, be a grown-ass adult and shed your fragility about how nicely or not you’re being told to step up and do the work of talking to others who are exactly like you, and focus on changing the things that actually need changing.
Your need for self-congratulatory pats on the back is nauseating and unethical.
Is this uncomfortable to read?
It ought to be.
We are exhausted. This is not ours to fix.
If this post made you think, please share with your friends and followers. There is a lot of work to be done. Here’s a solid place to start.
*This piece is dedicated to my friends Ali and Lily — and all the warrior women of colour consistently showing up to fight through heartbreak and exhaustion. You are the light.
*Originally published on my Medium
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